Analyze This

On Tuesday voters in Wisconsin will determine whether Wisconsin Supreme Cort Justice David Prosser will be reelected to another term or whether he will be replaced by JoAnne Kloppenburg. The race has turned into another front in the battle of Wisconsin, with unions investing massively in the defeat of Justice Prosser.
The election will be a low turnout affair, and Justice Prosser may be defeated by the small segment of the electorate revved up enough to show up. Kloppenburg has all but worn the union label in the campaign. In my view, Justice Prosser’s defeat would be a tragedy for the rule of law in Wisconsin and other parts east, west, and south, and some combination thereof.
The campaign is incredibly revealing. Kloppenburg’s supporters have scraped somewhere far beneath the bottom of the barrel for dirt against Justice Prosser, and Kloppenburg has been content to play along. If I were a liberal or a Democrat, I am quite sure that I would be ashamed of the candidate and the tactics on display in Wisconsin.
The silence of the left (including the mainstream media) in the face of this disgrace makes one wonder if the sense of shame has been utterly extinguished by the will to power. It really is worth paying attention, for the campaign is a preview of coming attractions.
In the following comments I am freely adapting the posts of John McCormack at the Weekly Standard and Gary Marx at NRO. Please check out their posts.
A front group for unions and trial lawyers called the Greater Wisconsin Committee has been spending millions to run an attack as vicious as it is misleading against Justice Prosser. It accuses Justice Prosser of shielding a pedophile when he was a prosecutor back in the ’70s.
The narrator claims: “A priest sexually abuses children for 30 years across Wisconsin. A mother tells DA David Prosser her two young sons were sexually assaulted. What does Prosser do? Prosser refuses to prosecute; doesn’t even ask the police to investigate. Instead, Prosser meets with the bishop. To avoid scandal, they send the priest to another community and the assaults continue. Tell David Prosser: Judges should protect our children, not sex offenders.” The ad is below.

The ad was so misleading that almost immediately after it hit the air the victim in the underlying case issued a statement calling the ad “offensive, inaccurate and out of context” and demanded that it be pulled. As NR’s editors noted, “even Politifact, generally hostile to Republicans, gave the claim a low rating on its Truth-O-Meter.” The victim, Troy Merryfield, is now appearing in an ad of his own, again accusing Kloppenburg’s allies of lying and demanding that the ad be taken down. The ad is below.

Justice Prosser confronted Kloppenburg with Merryfield’s statement and challenged her to call for the ad to be taken down. Gary Marx acutely observes: “She barely blinked.” Kloppenburg responded: “Like it or not, third parties have a First Amendment right to run ads of their own choosing.” The video is below.

But, as Marx also notes, political and judicial candidates have First Amendment rights of their own. They are free to condemn morally disgusting ads disseminated in support of their cause. Not to put too fine a point on it, the supporters of JoAnne Kloppenburg are liars and thugs, and JoAnne Kloppenburg is a cretin.

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